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Collecting vintage tackle on a budget

Can it be done? Yes!

Vintage fishing reels can sell for hundreds or even thousands of pounds, but can you collect on a budget? A small budget? A really small budget? Yes!

It’s a popular misconception that you need deep pockets to collect.

The image here shows a collection of vintage reels dating from the 1920s to 70s period, each of them costing under £30 each.

True, these are unlikely to rise to thousands of pounds in my lifetime, but that’s not the point.

Many people start collecting the tackle they couldn’t afford when young so that puts the collection bubble at approximately 50 years for most newbies.

A quality 506 or similar can be picked up sub £30, it can be fished, it’s always worth £30 and will increase in value as time goes by.

The little wood and brass Nottingham reel was under £20 and gives a glimpse into fishing nearly 100 years ago.

The Japan built Fuji reel (yes they made photographic gear) is actually quite rare and is a rising star as the Japanese buyers reclaim them.

The JW Young Ambidex series can be bought cheaply at present. They made a lot of them, the quality is amazing, they can be fished and used as well as collected, so what’s not to like?

The Walker Bampton alloy reel was a snip at £30, dating c. 1930’s it has got value/profit built in already.

Car boot sales, yard sales, tackle fairs, on-line auction and websites, the world is full of vintage tackle bargains for the smart buyer.

Let’s face it, the last business suit you bought has just lost all of its value the day you walk out of the store. These don’t, and only increase in value if bought well to start with.




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The Hardy Auxiliary Brake reels

Hardy were experts in innovation, so when the customer who bought the Hardy Perfect reel asked for additional braking control they got it, in the form of a brass frame brake system.

Hardy Auxiliary brakes were factory added to all types of drum reels, fly, spin, trolling and big game patterns.

The one here is on a Hardy Perfect 4-1/4” salmon reel from the 1930’s period, with Duplicated Mk 2 check mechanism and revolving line guide, it has it all.

The reason for the aux brake is to give additional pressure to the spool controlled by the angler over and above the check regulator system on the rim.

Does it work? Yes. Are these brakes rare to find? Yes.

Does it increase the value over a standard reel? Yes.

Are they a good future investment for a collector?



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My Farlow teapot

You know your company advertising works when a collector offers you a rare Farlow China teapot.

Many collectors do have ephemera of related fishy items to decorate their shelves, this I thought was ideal.

The seller was convinced this was a genuine Farlow tea pot but the plot thickens. The 10 Charles St address on the handle is great, the assorted rods, reels, nets and fish, great, the comic figure on the back, great? But the rear drag reel shown in one collage dispels any hope this teapot is 100 years old – more like 20!

The fly collection on the base is fabby but who sees that?

Oh well, it’s all a bit mad and that’s Xmas sorted for the wife, just need a Hardy biscuit barrel now and she leaves for good!



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Hardy St George Salmon Reel

St George Salmon reel

This Hardy St George salmon reel is a low production reel dating from c. 1920-24.

Available in ‘take it or leave it’ 4-1/4” diameter only.

Somewhere between approximately only 80 – 100+ reels were produced in two patterns plus a variant or two along the way.

Hardy St George salmon reels

The reel was priced around 15% more expensive than the Perfect which at the time (and still is by many) was considered the ultimate fly reel; this factor may have contributed to the lack of interest in the St George salmon reel.

It’s an odd reel with a large winding barrel, large O ring line guide and pretty much large everything!

Hardy St George salmon

One of the rarest of all the St George reels; many collectors simple never see one.

We are lucky to have sourced and sold this one with buyers waiting for another, so if you have a  spare one hanging about, drop us a line at the detail below!

>> Click here now to see our current stock of Hardy St George fishing reels for sale!

Thomas Turner Fishing AntiquesDo you have any vintage or classic modern fishing tackle to sell?

We are always interested in purchasing high quality vintage or modern tackle items. If you have a collection or an individual item to sell please get in touch. You can use our contact form, or email me at Please include some good clear images, watch our helpful video for some advice on that. We will get right back to you by phone or email.
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The Milward Brownie is not what you think

Milward's Brownie

No the Milward Brownie is not edible, it’s Mr S Brown’s Patent wood drum reel that started life in 1921 under Patent No 183277.

An interesting little reel! It was side-mounted on the rod, perhaps copied from the USA pattern reels including Pflueger and Southbend, this style remained popular through the 1920-40’s period finally dying off with the onslaught from Hardy and Mitchell with their iconic Altex and 300 models.

Sold only in one size, 3-1/2” diameter it had a polished wood drum on an alloy stem and foot assembly. A spring clip held a push through handle, the makers being Milward Bartleet.

An advert of theirs stated “Change hands, wind in ready for a fresh cast. Note – It may be easier to change the rod to the left hand after the cast and close the reel and replace the line with the right hand,” What!!

Milward's Brownie fishing reel

It had a hinged alloy joint with an indented ball bearing to snap it into place. I have seen a couple of slight differences in handles, line pickup wires and spool detailing.

All in all a very pretty little reel, quite fragile and very light & rare.

A welcome addition to any early spinning reel collection!

Thanks to Chris Sandford for the loan of the example pictured.